The history of the old gunmaking town of Suhl was never limited to traditional break barrel guns. Merkel and its preference for hunting rifles played a special role here. Nevertheless in the reengineering phase at the turn of the millennium Merkel developed repeating and self-loading hunting guns – widely esteemed precision engineering masterpieces. The Suhl manufactory drew on many sources and experts in the process. But the Suhl qualities were never forgotten. Many of the concepts on which the actions were based originated in the city of Suhl.
The market launch of the SR1 semiautomatic rifle in 2006 changed the image of the Merkel brand. Besides the traditional hunting gun, Merkel had now its own interpretation on the theme of the “semi-automatic” in its product range and thus proved its competence in all segments of hunting gun construction. Merkel developed this product together with self-loader specialists and designers. Aerospace technology supplied a number of functional and material solutions. A 1,500 cartridge continuous loads test with eleven different cartridge loads, under the official supervision of the State Proof House in Suhl, confirmed the highest level of safety and fitness for purpose of this rifle. In the spring of 2006, the first semiautomatic rifle left the Suhl manufactory.